Brazil and its Neighbors


Discuss the major geographical features of Brazil.
Compare and contrast the geography of the countries of Caribbean South America.
Describe the physical, economic, and cultural geography of Uruguay and Paraguay.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 8: Brazil and Its Neighbors

Brazil, the largest country in South America, has many different types of landforms and a variety of climate regions. A large basin in the northern half of Brazil is drained by the world's second-longest river, the Amazon. Agriculture, mining, and forestry make up a large part of Brazil's economy. Although the economy has brought prosperity to many Brazilians, others continue to live in poverty. Brazil's people have a mixed heritage that includes Native Americans and Portuguese. The Portuguese were the first and largest European group to colonize Brazil.

The Andes mountain ranges border Argentina on the west. The Patagonian Plateau, the plains of the pampas, and the forests of Gran Chaco provide the resources for farming and ranching. Argentina is also one of South America's most industrialized countries.

Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana make up the countries of Caribbean South America. Coastal plains give way to highlands as you move inland in each of these countries. Oil is Venezuela's most important natural resource, while sugarcane is a major product in Guyana and French Guiana. Rice and bananas flourish in Suriname.

Uruguay and Paraguay have large areas of grass-covered plains that support ranching and industries that depend on raising livestock.

     Quick Notes


Brazil is South America's largest country in size and population.
The Amazon River basin holds the world's largest rain forest.
Rapid industrial growth during the 1900s has made Brazil the leading manufacturing nation in South America.
Many people fear that economic development in the Amazon rain forest threatens the forest, its wildlife, and the Native Americans living there.
The people of Brazil are of European, African, Native American, or mixed backgrounds.

Caribbean South America

Caribbean South America includes Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
Oil has made Venezuela one of the wealthiest countries in South America.
The people of the Guianas trace their heritages to Asian, African, European, and early Native American cultures.

Uruguay and Paraguay

Most of Uruguay's people are of European descent. They live along the coast.
Paraguay is a landlocked country. Its people speak two languages: Spanish and Guarani.
Uruguay's economy depends on livestock raising. Paraguay relies on forestry and farming.

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